Some of us have watched the world go from high maintenance to at least lower maintenance in our lifetime. Automobiles that used to get 100 miles to the tire and seven miles to the gallon now allow us to put 50,000 miles on a tire and get 40 plus miles per gallon. If you’re lucky, you can put a couple hundred thousand miles on a car with routine maintenance, and sealed systems mean that greasing parts or adding water to a battery are foreign concepts to most people. Vinyl siding and brick have reduced the need to paint the exterior of houses, and better design and more durable materials extend the life of countless products, which results in minimal maintenance.
When an attorney puts together an estate plan, it is important to try to make it as low maintenance as possible. The plan should name alternate executors, trustees and agents so that the plan will survive the death, disability or unavailability of the first choice. It should also name alternate beneficiaries for similar reasons. Further, percentages are usually preferred over dollar amounts because estate values change over time along with the value of a dollar, and living trusts should not be used for people that aren’t interested in the original funding, titling or upkeep required for a good plan.
Low maintenance is what most people want and need. However, low maintenance should not be confused with “no maintenance.” Over time, and in the event of changes to the law, your key players or assets in your plan may need to be updated. A car with 300,000 miles on it does not have the original tires, battery or oil filter. Similarly, in order for your estate plan to continue to provide good service for you and your family, it needs periodic maintenance. Mr. Bailey has been providing low maintenance estate planning for 25 years. Whether you need your first plan or an update on your current plan, give Bailey & Galyen a call.